Posts Tagged ‘balance’

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facebook – back from the brink

January 22, 2012

Last night I went out with Toby, Christina and Pete, and we were talking about (among other things) people’s use of Facebook, how it can be quite irritating and invasive, and a new thing that pops up when you add someone as a friend (which I rarely bother doing!) – apparently you choose the ‘level’ of friendship (e.g. close friend, or acquaintance, or colleague). There is some other system of creating a “life event” and of viewing a friendship between two particular people (which Christina labelled as “spooky”, as Facebook will find all of the pictures that both people were tagged in and create some sort of pictorial / event timeline out of it).

Now, when I rejoined Facebook, I did so mainly to keep in touch with my old colleagues from Cirencester, which has been nice. But after the first week or so of being in London, I didn’t really use it! I don’t update my profile (I have twitter for that), I don’t post up pictures (because I have this blog and my occasionally-used tumblr for that) and people communicate with me via other means. Last night, Toby also stated that he hasn’t really been using Facebook properly for the past year or so, and we both considered closing our accounts (for me, this would have been the second time). I don’t know if Toby still will, but I was set on it – returning to Facebook only proved to me how much I didn’t really need it. But this time around, it’s hardly been a burden having Facebook because my presence on there is very minimal and completely for the purposes of communicating with friends of mine who use that as their main outlet.

And then, this morning I woke up to find that Victoria – an old friend of mine from Oxford – had messaged me to find out how I was doing. We hadn’t written to each other in a couple of years, and I hadn’t seen her since I graduated from uni. We were very close in our first two years, living in the same corridor and spending a lot of time with one another. She is such a sweet person, so it was really nice to hear from her! I have written her back, and this experience said to me “if having Facebook now is so light on commitment, why bother deleting it? At least every blue moon, somebody will get in touch and revive a friendship.” This approach made sense, and I feel that I have struck the ideal balance – I’m not completely detached from Facebook, but it is something that I use only when I feel like it. There is no compulsion to check it or update it the way that there used to be at university. I feel unburdened by it, and every now and then a nice surprise like Victoria’s message makes me glad I joined it again.

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appraisal.

May 29, 2010

1 year ago:

  • I was about one week away from finishing my job as Assistant Manager at the Perfume Shop.  I was eager to leave and start my Careers Guidance postgrad at UWE, and my new job at the BRI who were taking their sweet time to contact me – for most of June and July 2009 I claimed JSA while I was waiting for them to give me a start date, which felt pretty bleak!  Luckily, they did at the end of July, and I’ve enjoyed working there ever since, especially as my boss has been so flexible and understanding regarding my university course this year.  I can’t wait to go into work next week and tell them that I was successful in my job interview for Personal Tutor at Cirencester College – they’ll be so pleased for me. 🙂  Also, I think that a couple of them might have placed a bet on me getting the job?… Madness!
  • I was about one month away from starting this blog!  I can’t believe I’ve been writing on here and connecting with you all now for 11 months, it’s mad!  I feel that my writing has improved as a result, as well as the fact that I’ve been able to share with you all my music, my heart, my trials and tribulations regarding relationships, friendships, and everything in between!  Some of the comments that I have received and some of the friends that I have made as a result of writing this blog make it all worthwhile and I am very touched that sometimes, at one moment in time two lives can connect, because we can be going through the same thing.
  • I was emotionally drained after two dating attempts that were non-starters.  It would take me a few more attempts before I finally got it right, but I remember believing, even up until recently, that perhaps love just wasn’t for me, and I might be a popular person and have lots of friends and cherish them, but never quite find someone with whom I connected on a romantic level.  I was still dating because I didn’t want to give up, but I was secretly convinced that it was no use.  Love comes around when we least expect it.
  • I had started my twitter account (follow me!) a month ago,  and I have since made fantastic friends such as Nick, Nigel & Ness (all the N’s!).  The Twitterati was born!!! 😉

6 months ago:

  • I was working through my feelings regarding Mike (remember that saga?), and things were just in the process of getting really tangled and confused.  It was an emotionally bleak time, because I’d truly never felt like that, because this was someone I cared about so much and was so important to me.  I’m glad to say that now we’ve come out the other side, and he is one of my best, closest friends. Listening to Cheryl Cole (whose album I had just downloaded at the time), we really had to “fight for this love” (oh god that sounds cheesy but never mind), but it was all worth it because without him I wouldn’t have my beautiful tattoos (I still had virgin skin at this point!), the strength to have started my own relationship with Toby, nor the placement or transport which enabled me to get the job at Cirencester.  Mike (through the Careers Guidance course) has really helped me transform my life.
  • I was coming to breaking point with my relationship with my parents.  Christmas was a particularly low period, and I remember sitting in the park in the dark on Christmas Day quietly hating them, just wishing I could escape.  I felt like I was a nuisance to their lives, that they didn’t really want me around but since I had nowhere else to go, they expected me to just sit with them without complaint.  My friends were helpful distractions during the day, but coming home in the evenings and sitting around the dinner table was always a daunting prospect.  I was only just realising that, at 24 years old, that my problems with my parents were reflections on them: time and again I’ve made close friends easily, and generally my friends and I see eye to eye and we don’t argue.  So the fact that I had these problems with my parents, that their relationship is so volatile, is a reflection of them and not me.  I was finally starting to learn that I am not an ugly person on the inside and that there is nothing wrong with me, but that’s still a work in progress.

Today:

  • After two months of sending off applications for jobs as I approach the end of my Careers Guidance Qualification, I had an interview for a Personal Tutor position at Cirencester College.  Out of 110 applicants, they interviewed about 20 people, and of those 20, 4 of them were employed.  I am one of those 4, Mike is another.  It’s ridiculous, it’s amazing, I am unbelievably happy because it is the job I wanted, the people who work there are a pleasure to be around, and the students are some of the best in the country (the College has an excellent reputation).  Just as I was getting despondent regarding my lack of interviews, 2 came at once (I have to cancel my Careers Wales one) and I got the job I wanted.  I am going to be helping to shape young people’s futures, which is quite daunting, but I feel ready for this.  Bring it on!  Plus, I’m going to be working with one of my best friends… I wonder if Cirencester knows what it has let itself in for?
  • I am nearly 5 months into my relationship with Toby.  He is the hands down the best boyfriend I’ve ever had, he seems to pretty much adore me, and already in this short time I have learned a lot about relationships, about love, and about myself.  Although he’s going to be in London from July while I’ll be in Cirencester, we’re both determined to make it work – it’s not like we’re across the world from each other, it’s one and a half hour’s drive.  At this point, despite my own feeling that I don’t deserve love, that I am scared to let someone in and see all of me, we’re doing it and living the dream, and at 24 years old I’m pretty lucky to have everything suddenly start working out.  Toby is a dream, I am so lucky and we are gonna make it 🙂  Also, he is my home away from home, and between staying at his and socialising / partying with my other friends, I have that extra distance I need from my parents until I move out.
  • I have been having driving lessons for 2 and a half months now, and it’s been harder than I expected, if truth be told.  My instructor Russell is fantastic, and I’m hoping to increase my lessons in July once I finish at uni, with a view to taking my test during the summer.  For Cirencester, a car will come in incredibly useful (though to start with I reckon I could get by without it) and for my general independence, a car is necessary.  If I can pass my driving test (and I notice that my attitude to driving has changed and I feel a bit more confident, more capable of it – so I can pass my test), I will buy a nice little car and I will have achieved my three aims for this year : boyfriend, car, job.  More importantly, I failed my driving test when I was 18, and for all the time in the interim, I’ve had a secret nagging feeling of failure that I can’t drive.  It’s time to conquer those fears once and for all, redress the balance and vanquish that feeling of failure and inadequacy.
  • I have my 3 lovely tattoos, and my raven is on the Iron & Ink website for you all to see!  Check it out here!  I’m famous! 😉

2010 is destined to be my year of transformation, I am determined to turn my life around and this is the final piece in the puzzle.  I will move out once everything else is in place, but at least moving out doesn’t require passing any sort of exam or any protracted interview / dating process!  Looking back over how far I’ve come, it’s pretty overwhelming and I feel almost powerful that I’ve finally taken control, with the help of so many friends, and it’s time to keep moving forward.  No regrets, no apologies. 🙂

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i want to know what love is.

August 28, 2009

After yesterday’s epic rant, you’ll be relieved to know that I am gonna try and keep it brief tonight.  First things first: I had the perfect start to the day, downloading and listening to Mariah Carey’s new song, “I Want To Know What Love Is”, from her upcoming album Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel.  The day proceeded well from there, so I will share it with you in the hope that you will enjoy it as much as I do, and it will give you some positive energy also! :

Classic song brought tastefully up to date, with restraint in the right places and explosive vocals as a climax.  Mariah Carey is incomparable, and I aspire to be the kind of artist that she is.  Some of y’all will know that I did my own version of the song a couple of weeks ago now.  Embarrassingly enough, I spelt the title of the song wrong!  I thought it was “I Wanna Know…” but no; it’s “I Want To”.  So I apologise for that.  I still am proud of my version: a couple of my friends said that it was one of my best recorded vocal moments.  Here it is again for y’all:

It’s taken from my High Fashion mixtape, which I’ll release online sometime towards the end of September, a month before my proper album Quiet Storm is released.  My birthday is October 25th (note it in your diaries y’all!) so I’m thinking to release it around then; the actual day is a Sunday, so it might be that weekend, otherwise the following Monday or Tuesday.  I’m so excited!  All the music is finished, so just have to complete the artwork.  I need to get a move on!!!  I also wanted to let you know that the first single from Quiet Storm will be “Touch Me”, and I’m gonna put that online hopefully MONDAY for y’all.  So keep your eyes and ears peeled!  Once again, I sincerely thank everyone for the views and the comments and suggestions, it really means a lot and I hope that you all enjoy my music.

Returning to the song “I Want To Know What Love Is”, I remember I was partly inspired to record it because I knew Mariah had done a version of it, but another driving factor was my infatuation with R.  I still wear the Opium, which I guess means that I genuinely like the fragrance regardless of any tie to him.  My crush on him somewhat dimmed, since we haven’t spoken nearly as much in the past couple of weeks (after the drama with his boyfriend kicking him off msn for talking to me too much, followed by a reported tension between the two of them; and some stuff on the internet which confuses me as to whether he is a liar or a potential cheat, or just delusional, delusional *sings* – I decided to move on and avoid for a bit).  And I saw him at work while I went past on the bus, and he’s cut his hair – it doesn’t look bad, but I preferred it before.  I texted him and we spoke for a bit, and despite a bit more distance than before, nothing seems to have changed between the two of us.  So he told me that if I was walking by the museum (where he works) that there would be no problem if we spoke for a bit (I had expressed concern I might get him into trouble).

So today, after work I walked past the museum and there he was.  He seemed impressed by my appearance (Prada sunglasses, houndstooth polo shirt & smart trousers and shoes; I had been in the office dahling.  Plus my hair was not a total disaster today, despite the wind’s best efforts), while I looked at him and can’t believe there is just 13 days’ difference between the two of us, since he seems so much older.  We spoke for a while, before he got harrassed by an irksome man and then some of R’s colleagues were making their way towards him, at which point I decided to make a sharpish exit.  But in those few minutes, we spoke about our jobs, his financial and employment woes, my new stuff.  I would have liked to have spoken more… and I could feel my heart being reeled back in despite myself; despite my head saying “you shouldn’t trust this guy; you don’t know him that well; things don’t add up”.  All those things are true.  But I can’t deny that I feel an attraction, not just a sexual / lust attraction, but even a platonic attraction.  I really want us to be (at least) friends, because I always find conversation flows so easily between us… something just clicks, and it feels like we are on the same wavelength, even if we don’t have the same opinions on everything, it’s easy… And to have all of that going for us, and yet to know that I should be wary because part of me doesn’t think he is completely trustworthy… it’s a difficult mental balance and I don’t really know how to address it.  I’m not going to resist talking to him, because I don’t want to.  I just wish I knew him better, so that I didn’t have to be apprehensive about being open with him.  But of course, to get to know someone well, you have to be somewhat open and trusting of them; it’s a catch 22.  What to do, what to do…?

“I want to know what love is… I want you to show me”

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bruised.

August 18, 2009

I’m not really sure what to write tonight because I’m feeling really vulnerable and upset.  I had a tense afternoon with my mum and my nan, and although me and my mum had a good conversation afterwards (and it turned out she understood why I got so upset and my nerves were so fraught), I still don’t feel 100% better.  I went to sit in the park so that I wouldn’t bombard her with rage when she returned from dropping my nan back home, and it was good to take that time to think.  Space is good, alone time is good.  I don’t like being alone all the time, but I appreciate a balance between being around people and having my own freedom to think and be.  I don’t really want to go into what happened, because it’s a long story of nothing remarkable, but once again I felt under fire and criticised for every little thing and I am really tired of it.

I guess I take things too personally, however much I try to be patient and take deep breaths and not let things get to me and show on the surface that I am affected.  I know that a blog entry I wrote recently surprised a friend of mine because she didn’t realise how much I had taken a couple of things to heart.  I guess that my feelings bruise more easily than people expect, but then at the same time, I can’t apologise for feeling attacked and for feeling vulnerable.  I mean, perhaps I should speak up more, but then in a situation like today, I say something and it comes out rude or snappy and gets misinterpreted, and the whole situation just escalates and then needs a lot more effort to be diffused.  I don’t know what is better, to retaliate and stick up for yourself, or to keep a dignified silence and risk being treated like a doormat.  Either option has its strengths and its pitfalls.  I don’t know the answer.  I don’t mean to upset people, but I examine my feelings and I can’t find any fault or lies in my hurt – I really felt that way, and I don’t feel that I deserved it.  When my nan suddenly gets all defensive because she realises she’s struck a nerve after an afternoon of constant criticism, it’s too late – I can’t go back to being okay with a swift apology that rings hollow because it’s only being said just to smooth over an inconvenient display of pain.  I guess I wish people would consider whether something would hurt someone else’s feelings before they said or did it, even if it’s the smallest thing.  And then I guess that is impossible, because otherwise the whole human race would be walking on eggshells.  That’s why we have overkill of political correctness – it’s impossible to please everyone, and trying not to offend anyone dilutes everything until it’s blander than bland.  So I don’t know what the solution is.  I always try to consider other people’s feelings and try to keep my sensitivity down before getting my back up, but after a while I can’t help but react emotionally to repeated assaults on my personality or the way I do something or the choices I make.  So all I can think of is to make a pact: that I will try and keep myself in check if everyone else agrees to do the same. Otherwise, I’m tired of keeping quiet, and one day I am going to retaliate in a way that everyone will remember.

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easy to get.

July 14, 2009

When my friends would ask me for dating and relationship advice, one of my steadfast rules would always be to play hard to get.  Along with not going all the way on the first night, and meeting in a public place, I would always recommend playing hard to get because it makes you more tantalising to the other person.  Why shouldn’t you be chased a little bit?  And if they don’t make a little bit of effort in pursuing you, they’re probably not worth it.

That’s what I would say, anyway.  But of course it’s so much easier when you’re the person giving the advice than when it’s your turn to follow that advice.  There are two problems that I currently have with playing hard to get.  1) If you play hard to get and act like you don’t care (ice king / queen was always a good thing to me), they may also be playing hard to get and you end up drifting apart. Or they might end up thinking you genuinely aren’t interested and don’t care, which triggers unfortunate backpedalling on your part that comes across ultimately as a little desperate.  2) This time, I don’t even seem to want to play hard to get.

Call it laziness, call it hypocritical. But I’ve been talking to this guy for a few days now and it feels like we are fully into the flirting stage.  We already had some potentially awkward conversations about sex, relationships, family, jobs, money… and those have more or less been navigated without a hitch.  The fact that he is able to converse with me in a full and sensible way, without waiting around for me or texting me constantly suggests that he is both balanced and has a brain (which puts him above 80% of the people whom I have met in a potential dating capacity… usually the potential is not capitalised upon).  He’s attractive (take my word for it).  He is definitely who he says he is, and he knows that I am who I say I am.  We both seem to admit to having our flaws.  I don’t detect any hint of fakeness so far, we don’t agree on absolutely everything but we have a fair amount in common, which is realistic I guess.

And so I’ve spent the last 3 or 4 nights talking to him until 2am, which is something I only usually do with my closest friends.  I’m under no illusions that I haven’t even met him in person yet, so this can quite feasibly all come crashing down if we don’t mesh as well in person as we do online. But I’m also aware that it’s been a long time since the portents were so promising… we’ve grown to flirt a lot, and we talked about things I am not going to mention in polite company (that’s you, dear reader) and he ended the conversation with that kiss emoticon thing, and my “mwah” in response.  He was going to have a shower, he was going to watch a film and he ended up speaking to me the whole night and putting aside his other plans.

The best part of it (well, all the parts are good really) is that we were trading youtube videos of songs and apart from them pretty much all being romantic in nature (I slipped in Janet Jackson’s Warmth at the end because I am a tease and that is the part about you being polite company and that’s all I’m going to say about it at this point 😛 ), we have the same taste.  This is such a rarity, I am honestly over the moon!  We diverge on a couple of things (he played me this dance chipmunk version of Belinda Carlisle’s “Summer Rain” which was atrocious, but sorta funny; for some reason he is not into Ciara that much) but generally we agree.  Here are a couple of the things he played me:

And here are some of the things I played him:

See what I mean? All sexy and romantic songs… I recommend listening to the ones that I chose in particular (hahahahaha!). 😉

Usually with my friends I end up drawing them to my music taste (I got both of my best friends to fall in love with Danity Kane), but in this case it may not even be necessary, as long as I don’t hear any more chipmunk music. I know I’ve inspired two of his msn usernames in the past day, and I’m even prepared to go back to this atrocious club I swore I’d never set foot in again, only because that’s where he fancies going.  Hard to get has more or less gone straight out of the window, and I know that I need to be careful but at the same time we still get on with our own lives.  Like I literally just spoke to him now (as I was writing this) and we had a brief conversation (he is redecorating his room) and then he was just like “Gotta go / have a good day / xx”.  The “xx” is very important (you shouldn’t need me to tell you!) but I find it so refreshing that he makes the effort, but still has his own life.  Like I said, it’s about having a balance I think, and I find it reassuring that we haven’t fallen head over heels for each other, because that would be a bit unrealistic and dangerous at this point.  If you asked me, I would still recommend playing hard to get and not being available the whole time, because I believe that normally that is the best approach (hypocrite alert! I know, I know). But at the same time, it’s nice to have someone to flirt with, something that looks so genuinely positive, and even if my policy of hard to get is going out of the window on this occasion, at least I’m having fun.